Corporate Instinctif Partners

December 13, 2018

Fake News 2018: Public Perceptions & Media Response


Fake news has had a profound effect on the British public’s perceptions of the media and is driving an increased scepticism of news publishers, according to the findings of our 2018 research, Fake News 2018: Public Perceptions & Media Response.

According to an independent survey of 2,000 Britons, 55% of people are more sceptical about what they read in all forms of media, and 60% of Britons independently fact check what they read, with the majority citing fake news as the reason.

Our research also finds that the public’s level of trust remains highest for traditional, mainstream media platforms compared to social media. However, the gap in trust between social and traditional media has not changed significantly compared to last year. This implies that social platforms have largely weathered the storm of the past year, despite intense public pressure on platforms like Facebook.

Our research highlights that while social media has suffered the greatest backlash for hosting false news, it is the mainstream media which has the greatest opportunity to improve its standing and perceptions amongst the public. To fully capitalise, mainstream media providers must take clear, unambiguous and proactive action to win the battle for the public’s trust in the age of fake news.

  • Nearly seven in ten Britons think fake news should be a punishable criminal offence. In total 69% of respondent believed that either the platform, the poster, or both should be held criminally liable for fake news.
  • 55% of Britons say the rise in fake news has made them more sceptical of what they read in all forms of media.
  • Nearly one in two Britons (49%) say the rise in fake news has made them more wary of clicking on news stories from non-traditional sources
  • Readers are putting a greater premium on verified truth – 60% of respondents said they fact check the news they read, with the same proportion attributing this behaviour to fake news
  • Mainstream platforms are the preferred sources of fact checking – 58% of people use the BBC to verify their news, 34% use traditional media, and 15% use social media
  • Established, traditional platforms are considered the most trustworthy media – radio and TV score 3.5 (out of 5) in terms of trust, traditional media 3.2, Twitter 2.5, blogs 2.3 and Facebook 2.2.
  • The difference in trust between social and mainstream media is narrowing – despite greater criticism of social media over the past year, little has changed in terms of trust between the mainstream and social media.
  • Analysing Facebook’s response to fake news during 2018, less than one in five people believe that Mark Zuckerberg’s interventions restored their trust in Facebook during the year. Just 19% thought Zuckerberg’s actions would reduce the amount of fake news posted on the platform
  • Almost one in four Britons agree that it is the responsibility of everyone – from social media platforms and bloggers to editors and the government – to stop fake news

Read the full report – Fake News 2018: Public Perceptions & Media Response